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Distracted driving fatality rates differ with cellphone laws

ValuePenguin has ranked the states based on their distracted driving fatality rate, finding that the laxity or strictness of each state's cellphone laws did much to influence the rates. West Virginia had one of the lower ones, ranking 43rd with .51 fatalities per 10 billion miles traveled between 2015 and 2017.

The national average was 1.49 fatalities per 10 billion miles traveled. Tennessee had a rate that was five times higher than the national average: 7.2 fatalities per 10 billion miles. It was followed by Delaware (3.28), Wyoming (3.22), Texas (3) and Montana (2.91). In all, there were more than 1,400 fatalities from 2015 to 2017 in accidents that involved at least one driver using a cellphone.

Neither Rhode Island nor Washington, D.C. saw any distracted driving fatalities in the three-year period. Nevada came in next with the lowest rate, 0.25. The 13 states that had the most far-reaching cellphone laws experienced nearly 30 percent fewer fatalities than the rest of the nation.

ValuePenguin analysts based their results on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. It recognizes that there are some outliers. Delaware, though it ranked second, completely bans all texting and handheld phone use. On the other hand, Nebraska has lax cellphone laws (only a partial ban on texting) but ranked 48th.

When a motor vehicle accident is caused by a distracted driver, occupants of other vehicles could suffer serious injuries that require lengthy periods of expensive medical care and treatment. They might find it advisable to have an attorney's assistance when seeking compensation for their losses.

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